By Riley Jo
"Our prime purpose in this life is to help others." said Dalai Lama XIV.
I have met many people from many places . I have family spread out throughout the U.S. I can't tell you that I have all the answers or that I’m always right. But what I can tell you, from my own experiences, is that there is not a place where you can find as helpful and kind-hearted people as you can find in North Dakota.
I was born in this wonderful state just as my parents were. As is grew up, I developed acquaintances, friends, and best friends. Through every single one of those relationships, my parents were always there for me. They were there when I made my first friend, had my first heartbreak and walked through every tough situation life had thrown at me. They have told me right from wrong, helped me through thick and thin and have gone the distance to make my life the best that they can, without living it for me. My mom has always said, "If you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all." I have a theory, that North Dakotans feel obligated to help others, especially when parents portray this to their children so well.
When I was young, I was taught, more than anything to be kind to others. That was a big thing in my family. When we see someone with a flat tire on the side of the road, we make sure they are okay and that they have help on the way. If not, we help them ourselves. My dad has demonstrated this in the best way. I have a cousin named Mike. By the time he was almost finished with his first year of college, he and a girl were expecting. Mike didn't have much at the time and neither did his girlfriend. His parents together were already working four jobs to keep food on the table. He had a vehicle that barely ran and he, like his vehicle, was just making it by. My dad, Corey, being Corey, talked to Mike and took him completely under his wing. Corey owned a house in Oakes and had it up for rent. He had Mike come to work as an electrician. With the money Mike made at his new job, he would eventually be able to rent this house in Oakes. That way he had a place to start his family off well. Four years later, Mike's family of six is financially stable and living in their very own house. Not only has he became financially stable, but has proven to be a tremendous asset in my dad’s business.
That is one of the best examples of North Dakota kindness right there. The reason why North Dakota is that way is because we have small towns. Everyone knows each other and cares about one another. In large towns, it’s a lot harder to be caring towards people you don’t know. I have personally learned that people need people. That’s also why we care so much about each other in small towns is because we’re the only people we have. Where I grew up, people talked about life with open minds and kind hearts. That's what influenced my parents. And that's also what they instilled in me. I don't believe you could get open hearts like that from anywhere other than North Dakota. The kind hearted people around me, the North Dakotans around me, made me the kind, honest North Dakotan I am today.